3D Glass Printing

>The recent posting about 3D printer technology and the resulting roving robots amuck in the Sahara, leaving a trail of glassware had generated a lot of inquiries into the 3D technology (and interest in how does one get access to this). Recently, a high-tech fabrication/prototype workshop has opened in Washington, DC: Fab Lab DC
From their website:

Fab Labs provide access to prototype tools for personal
fabrication, like a personal computer that can output
functional objects instead of images on a screen.
The labs have spread from inner-city Boston to Africa and
Norway, with projects tackling applications in areas
including healthcare,agriculture, housing, and communications...
In the spirit of MIT’s Fab Lab community outreach project,
FAB LAB DC will create a high-tech,fabrication
community workshop in the heart of the
Nation’s Capital to
advance creativity, innovation, and
collaborative projects.
FAB LAB DC will serve and foster
the creative community by
providing access to digital
fabrication technology, rapid prototyping,
and the global
Fab Lab network.

There are some other online sites that allow one to upload files that
they will fabricate and ship to you - like
Shapeways - a
Netherlands based site that now has opened offices in NYC.

Shapeways also has glass prototype facilities - but they have a
list of of rules for this process.

Click HERE to jump to Fab Lab DC's website.
Click HERE to jump to Fab Lab blog.

Solar Powered 3D Printer Turns Sand Into Glass

>Solar Sintar

Markus Kayser – Solar Sinter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.

If you have been like me, you spend every possible hour in the studio – head down, working on artwork and projects. The world, my friend, however, has been marching on. New technologies are reshaping how art is made.
In this brave new world, 3D printers top every sculptors must-have list.

The model above is Emmanuel Lattes’ Double Möbius. 3D printed in glass. Glass frit powder is mixed with a binding agent that allows the work to be modeled and built by layers in a 3D printer. The work is then carefully loaded into a kiln and fired, fusing the powder and burning away the binding agent. Tho a bit more fragile and rougher than traditional glass forming, the possibilities of computer assisted sculpture are incredible.

But to put all this progress into perspective, a little history is in order. The first 3D printer was produced by Charles Hull in 1984, who utilized a patented stereolithography method for the print process. The basic approach for 3D printing is to create a layer of polymer for the desired 2D slice, cure that area, and then repeat to build layer-upon-layer. Hull’s technique involved creating a 0.0025-inch layer of liquid photocurable polymer that could be cured with a UV laser.
In 1988, the first commercially available 3D printer was
officially launched by 3D Systems, which utilized a photo-optical acrylic resin. In the early 1990s, a number of other methods were developed, including fused deposition modeling that extruded thermoplastics for layering and multi-jet modeling, based on ink-jet printer technology. Techniques have also been developed that use powder and lasers. Over time, a multitude of companies across the world have sprung up offering their high-end printers combined with CAD software and scanners, allowing objects to be either scanned or designed from scratch.

In the above video, Markus Kayser goes into the Sahara with a solar powered printer to create 3D objects – including a bowl – by melting the sand that he scoops up. What an idea for the Glass School’s bowl class! (& class outdoors!). But, you may ask,
what about annealing?

Awesome to get a glimpse of the future of both sculpture and sustainable design.

For more about 3D printing – click HERE to jump to a recent article in The Economist.